February 27, 2011

Weeks 4 & 5 – Our 21st-Century Regulatory System

We continue to monitor the progress being made on President Obama’s “21st-Century Regulatory System” initiative intended to not only promote “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation," but also to “root out regulations that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb,” and yet at the same time “won't shy away from addressing obvious gaps.” 

For this edition, we focus on the International Trade Commission’s ongoing endeavors to ensure that American consumers and businesses are protected from paying too little for the things they purchase.

Following is a partial list (culled from the last two weeks of entries in the Federal Register) of things the ITC believes you may not be paying enough for:

Friday, February 18

Light-Walled Rectangular Pipe

Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils

Tuesday, February 22

Polyethylene Terephthalate Film

Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon Steel Plate

Steel Nails

Thursday, February 24

Fresh Garlic

Ball Bearings

Tapered Roller Bearings

Friday, February 25

Wooden Bedroom Furniture

Special mention should be made of those good citizens, whistle blowers if you will, who alert the ITC to potential instances in which you may not be paying enough for things, such as Polyethylene Terephthalate Film producer, DuPont, which was concerned that people were not paying enough for Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, and domestic producers of certain cut-to-length carbon steel plate who, despite the personal risks involved, noted that people were not paying enough for certain cut-to-length carbon steel plate.

There should be a Medal of Freedom in there somewhere.

J.

February 27, 2011 at 05:02 PM in Current Affairs, Our 21st-Century Regulatory System | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 13, 2011

WEEK 3 – Our 21st-Century Regulatory System

We continue to monitor the progress being made on President Obama’s “21st-Century Regulatory System” initiative intended to not only promote “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation," but also to “root out regulations that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb,” and yet at the same time “won't shy away from addressing obvious gaps.” 

This week we take a look at one item in particular that appeared on February 24th in the Federal Register:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In compliance with 44 U.S.C. 3507, FDA has submitted the following proposed collection of information to OMB for review and clearance.

Dietary Supplement Labeling Requirements and Recommendations under the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act.

…draft guidance document entitled ``Questions and Answers Regarding the Labeling of Dietary Supplements as Required by the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act. ''

Out of curiosity, we decided to pull up a copy of the document, the number one purpose of which is to define:

 “…the meaning of domestic address for purposes of the labeling requirements of section 502(x) of the Act.”

If you are like most people you’re probably thinking, “people still use addresses?“

Yes, The domestic address is required so that users may report “a serious adverse event” associated with the use of a dietary supplement, such as an allergic reaction, gastrointestinal pain, or finding that your urine smells like a YMCA. 

However the law also allows the use of a phone number. 

If you are like most people, you’re probably thinking, “people still use phone numbers?  Couldn’t I just update my Facebook page?”

Unfortunately, no, the law requires the use of an address or phone number, but that struck the FDA as far too ambiguous and thus the reason for the document, which tries to clarify the matter:

FDA concludes that the statute requires the product label to bear a full U.S. mailing address that includes the street address or P.O. Box, and the city, state, and zip code of the responsible person.

You might be wondering if such a conclusion could possibly be supported by some independent source.  The FDA was way ahead of you:

This reading of section 502(x) of the Act is supported by dictionary definitions of address, which include “the indication of destination, as on mail or parcels” and “the location at which a person or an organization may be reached.”4 Indeed, an address does not serve its intended purpose unless it includes all the information necessary to enable mail to reach its destination.

Indeed it does not.  Now that we’ve settled the heretofore vague matter of what constitutes an “address,”what about phone numbers you ask?

Similarly, when the responsible person chooses to provide a domestic phone number for adverse event reporting, FDA concludes that the statute requires the phone number on the product label to include the area code.

An area code?  We ALWAYS forget that. 

Still not convinced the FDA has enough to support their conclusion?

Congress’s use of the phrase “through which the responsible person … may receive a report” to modify “domestic address or domestic phone number” further supports FDA’s conclusion that domestic address or domestic phone number means a complete address or phone number (see section 502(x) of the Act).

Plus, providing a complete address and phone number is important for other reasons:

In addition, when consumers notice the incomplete address, they might decide not to submit a report to the responsible person because they believe it will not be received. Similarly, if the phone number provided on the product label for adverse event reporting does not include an area code, there is no assurance that consumers will be able to connect to the responsible person.

You know what?  We’re convinced.  Absent this guidance companies would have no idea what to do.  Maybe they’d just provide the middle 6 numbers for their phone contact.  Or completely forget to include the city on the address.

Let’s face it, the only way we can ever hope to compete on the world stage is to employ a team of highly paid FDA experts to produce an 8-page document detailing the many intricacies and nuances of what constitutes an “address” or “phone number.”

Look out China, here we come! 

And with properly formatted addresses and phone numbers for reporting serious adverse events!

J.

February 13, 2011 at 03:54 PM in Current Affairs, Our 21st-Century Regulatory System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2011

WEEK 2 – Our 21st-Century Regulatory System

We continue to monitor the progress being made on President Obama’s “21st-Century Regulatory System” initiative intended to not only promote “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation," but also to “root out regulations that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb,” and yet at the same time “won't shy away from addressing obvious gaps.” 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sure, the world is rapidly moving to transfer expensive and resource-intensive methods of delivering information onto digital online formats for easy and convenient retrieval, but if the world jumped off a bridge would you do it too?

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance...

For chain retail food establishments:

     Disclosing the number of calories in each standard menu item on menus and menu boards,

     Making additional written nutrition information available to consumers upon request,

     Providing a statement on menus and menu boards about the availability of the written nutrition information, and

     Providing calorie information (per serving or per food item) for self-service items and food on display, in a sign adjacent to each food item.

For chain vending machine operators:

     Providing a sign in close proximity to each article of food (or the selection button) that discloses the number of calories contained in the article, unless a prospective purchaser is able to examine the Nutrition Facts Panel before purchasing the article, or visible nutrition information is otherwise provided at the point of purchase.

It may be expensive and wasteful, but at least it doesn’t work.

AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry and FDA staff entitled “’Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents' in Tobacco Products Used in Section 904(e) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Here is Planet Moron’s list of harmful and potentially harmful constituents in tobacco products:

1) Tobacco.

You’re welcome.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011:

AGENCY: Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce (the Department) has determined that imports of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) from Taiwan are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value (LTFV).

Imports of PVA are being sold for LTFV?  OMG, WTF!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Committee to examine the full spectrum of issues faced by the fruit and vegetable industry and to provide suggestions and ideas to the Secretary of Agriculture on how USDA can tailor its programs to meet the fruit and vegetable industry's needs.

You know what they say, what’s good for the fruit and vegetable industry is good for America. 

But mostly for the fruit and vegetable industry.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Proclamations:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim February 2011 as American Heart Month,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim February 2011 as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

In these austere times, we don’t have the luxury of dedicating an entire month to only one cause at a time.  From now on, they’ll have to double up.  For March we’re looking at combining “American Toenail Fungus Awareness Month” together with “National Creepy Beauty Pageants for Girls Way Too Young Month.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Asparagus Revenue Market Loss Assistance Payment Program

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA.

SUMMARY: This rule implements the Asparagus Revenue Market Loss Assistance Payment (ALAP) Program Authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill). The ALAP Program will compensate domestic asparagus producers for marketing losses resulting from imports during the 2004 through 2007 crop years.

Even in the midst of a looming budgetary crisis we simply cannot overlook the fact that Americans did not turn over enough of their money to asparagus producers.  Not if we want to get this economy growing again, particularly the economy of people who sell things to asparagus producers.

J.

February 4, 2011 at 04:18 PM in Current Affairs, Our 21st-Century Regulatory System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2011

WEEK 1 – Our 21st-Century Regulatory System

President Obama last week launched his “21st-Century Regulatory System” initiative that would not only promote “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation," but also “root out regulations that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb,” and yet at the same time “won't shy away from addressing obvious gaps.” 

How’s he doing?  We carefully examine the Federal Register, the government’s compendium of federal activity, to find out:

Monday, January 24, 2011

When you stop to think how the federal government can foster innovation the better to ensure our success in a competitive world, one thing surely comes to mind:

“I sure hope we’re employing at least 21 permanent full-time people studying sheep grazing.”

Could we keep up with China if we weren’t?

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

SUMMARY: The Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES), Dubois, Idaho is proposing sheep grazing and associated activities to achieve its research goals and objectives (to develop integrated methods for increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems).

The final Environmental Impact Statement allowing a department dedicated to studying sheep grazing to graze sheep is not expected to be finalized until next March.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It doesn’t get any simpler than this.  If you want to create jobs, there are only a handful of tools available to the federal government. One of those tools is revising “the quantity of Class 3 native spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2010-2011 marketing year.”

SUMMARY: …This rule increases the Native spearmint oil salable quantity from 980,220 pounds to 1,118,639 pounds, and the allotment percentage from 43 percent to 50 percent. The marketing order regulates the handling of spearmint oil produced in the Far West and is administered locally by the Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee). The Committee unanimously recommended this rule for the purpose of avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices and to help maintain stability in the Far West spearmint oil market.

If there's one obvious gap that needs addressing in our regulatory system, it's the lack of government-mandated pricing cartels. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

There is no question that this regulation is worth the cost:

Abstract: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to collect economic information from golden-crab landing commercial fishermen in the U.S. South Atlantic region.

 Estimated Number of Respondents: 9.
    Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 9.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

Note to self: Do NOT become a golden-crab landing commercial fishermen in the U.S. South Atlantic region. The pay is awful.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AGENCY: United States International Trade Commission.

ACTION: Revised schedule for the adequacy phase of the subject five-year review concerning the antidumping duty order on granular polytetrafluoroethylene resin (``granular PTFE resin'') from Italy.

The International Trade Commission: Protecting U.S. businesses from having to pay too little for their raw materials.

Friday, January 28, 2011

And finally, this important announcement regarding the publication of the highly anticipated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration annual insurer report on motor vehicle theft.

For 2005.

SUMMARY: This notice announces publication by NHTSA of the annual insurer report on motor vehicle theft for the 2005 reporting year. Section 33112(h) of Title 49 of the U.S. Code, requires this information to be compiled periodically and published by the agency in a form that will be helpful to the public, the law enforcement community, and Congress.

Because where else are you going to get information regarding the motor vehicle theft rates of brand new Hummers, Pontiacs, or Saturns

J.

January 28, 2011 at 06:50 PM in Current Affairs, Our 21st-Century Regulatory System | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack